there have been some interesting cases in the history of our armed forces and i'd like to explore them in further detail. c-span: have you started it yet? >> guest: just barely scratched the services. c-span: here's the cover of the book are touched by fire about general george armstrong custer. our guest is louise barnett. we thank you for joining us. >> guest: thank you area match.
insecticides including ddt in her book, "silent spring" published in 1962. following the publication, ddt was banned and the environmental protection agency created. this year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of "silent spring." this is a little over an hour. [applause] >> thank you. thank you overcoming tonight to this wonderful facility. i love coming here. i always remind these guys are so fortunate to work at the national conservation training center. it's a really terrific facility. nice to be back here. nice to see all of you. i guess and the warm-up act for the presidential debate later tonight. i promise no spin and i promise to finish in time so that those of you who can't get enough of politics will be able to go see it, although i don't know who that would be at this point. i'm sure we all want to see the
debate, so we will finish on time for that. i'm here to talk about rachel carson and bismarck indicated last month on the 27th of september was the fifth year anniversary of "silent spring," which is the book that carson is probably most remembered for at this point in time, although she was a famous out there before she wrote "silent spring." i'm going to talk some more about that tonight. this is rachel. i love this photograph. this is the frontispiece of the book. i spent about seven months trying to find this photograph and arrange to reproduce it in a book. it was made by irving penn, the great 20th century portrait photographer from "vogue" magazine. it actually appeared in book magazine also took several months for me to figure out when and where. event, it was made inccccc 1951, so it hasn't been seen inc decades.cccc
this is the last photographs of rachel carson and that this photograph of her ever taken. she would've been 44 years old in this photograph and i think it's terrific. it's not crops. that's the way he photographed her. well, looking around this audience tonight, i suspect most of you know who rachel carson is, but i can tell you generally that is not the case with a lot of people. baby boomers and people older than baby boomers tend to remember carson and her work and young people in high school college are studied rachel carson and environmental studies classes and they are more likely to know who rachel carson us. but in between is this great doughnut hole. lots and lots of people who don't know rachel carson, don't know "silent spring" and as a result don't understand the origins of the environmental movement and as importantly, the
debate and arguments we have around the environmental movement. they have their origins in "silent spring" and the reaction to "silent spring" in the historical context in which carson was working. these are questions that interested me alive. this is part of the reason i wrote a book about rachel carson. i wanted to understand where this movement came from, the role that she played in it and why we have this party sentiment of a safe, right left argument all the time about environmental matters. it doesn't seem logical. we all live in the same global ecosystem. it shouldn't be something we can't agree on and get we can't agree on it. so carson is the fault line in my view between two important aspects of our relationship with the natural world, to the historical movements. the first half of the 20th century was about conservationists in. this is the idea we should be
good shepherds for the earth, preserve the resources they have and we should preserve heritage of wildness that the country was premised on for future generations. this is not particularly controversial idea. this is not something people disagree quietly about. it's never simple to consider something if it's sitting in somebody's way. but basically this is a nonpartisan concept. in 1962, when carson published "silent spring," the conversation shifted to what i call environmentalists. now these terms are precise. they are scientific, but it's a useful construct for thinking about what changed in 1962. environmentalism is different from conservationists in the ever important ways. it's a little more pessimistic are not nearly as forward-looking it's more immediate, more urgent and more
dire. with the evolution of environmental inc. you may begin to focus more and more on ourselves, were before the species of concern might've been a fish or a bird or a game species of some kind or a forest. when we think about the environment and our place and i come the species of concern became us. what we do to the environment and what we do to ourselves in the process. so i think when i looked back five decades in the rearview mirror, we can actually see the beginnings of this change in the way we think about the national world. michael rachel carson fault line come a tipping point between these two things. she had a strong presence in conservation movement, which i'll talk about in a moment and was really an affect the founder of the modern environmental movement. i think it's possible to actually point to a specific moment in time when that
happened, when we began to think differently about the environment and our relation to it. it came in the late summer of 1962 about a month before rachel "silent spring" is an unpublished. in june of 1962 come at the yorker published three long excerpts. through the course of the summary huge controversy flared up around the book and people began to take sides on it and people began to become worried about what carson was warning everyone about. by the end of august this is very much on the public agenda. i'm going to show you now have little video that i think as good as any other identifies this tipping point, this place in time where we begin to think about environmentalism.
[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> all right. president kennedy in 1962 at the tail end of his news conference. i hope you could hear it there. he asked about pesticides and whether the government would do anything about it. whether that to the question, there is a host of questions that turned out not to be emulated, although it seems that the time. several reporters asked about the increase in soviet shipping traffic to the island of cuba and nobody knew what was happening or what that meant, but in a couple of a couple of our most vivid know exactly what that was about. that was not in the ad and related to a person was talking about in "silent spring."
i hope you could also hear the president referred to this carson spoke. we are going to look into this problem, especially in light of this carson spoke. what's interesting about that is in 1962, no further introduction was needed. everybody knew who this person was. those racial%, celebrated author three books about the ocean on the beautiful lyrical books about the ocean. wonderful, transforming experiences for readers. carson had a way of taking science and translating it to beautiful narrative that everybody could relate to. so should become one of america's most celebrated and beloved authors. a subset she turned into a different direction. it is a disturbing book, a worrisome book that pointed out that we were doing to ourselves by the careless use of pesticides in many different places. well, since it's meant 1962 any
more thought would explain a little more for you about to rachel carson was. she was born in 1907 in this house in springdale, pennsylvania near pittsburgh and allegheny river. she was born about the upstairs bedrooms of this has come with at the time did not have that addition on the right-hand side dish ec. it stopped at the chimney on the right. a simple, modest house, to downstairs into upstairs. there is no central heat, no indoor plumbing. data couplet outhouses up that come to a shed in the front where they occasionally kept the horse. it was a little bit in the??? words.? it wasn't completely in the country, but there is enough property around????????t carson could explore the was often with her mother as a child and she really about birds i'm as fascinated with nature at a
very early age. she was a gifted student and a talented writer, even as a young woman. she published several stories and children magazines before she got out of high school and she earned a scholarship to a small women's college in pittsburgh called pennsylvania college for women, which is now called chatham university. a beautiful little campus tucked away in kind of a wealthy neighborhood of his spirit and it was quite a step up in the world for carson who came from the simple circumstances to be on this college campus. later in life people always describe rachel carson is looking frail and not particularly much of a physical presence. this is her field hockey team. she's the one standing second from the right. she looks pretty firm jawed and sturdy in this photograph, but it probably is a little bit deceiving. she never came off quite a week
later in life. i think her field hockey team or class champion fought for years and she was the goalie. this is her senior picture. and this is taken, she had undergone a pretty significant change. she went off to college originally planning to major in english and hoping to be a writer. she thought writing was the highest possible calling, something she wanted to be able to call herself, something that she really that wanted to be able to do. but while she was in college, she became very interested in biology, to a particularly influential professor, but also because carson had discovered she had a genuine and deep affection for biological sciences. so she switched her major and then she graduated from pcw, she went to johns hopkins university in baltimore to pursue a master's degree in zoology and spent her summers at the marine biological laboratory in woods hole, which is where this
picture is from writer from 1929. carson was thinking about getting her doctorate in either serology or some aspect of biology and she would've had fairly circumscribed opportunities had she done that. there were not a lot of good career paths for women coming out of college with phd's in the late 1920s. she could've taught certainly. certainly at a school like the one she just graduated from, but the future was always an out search and one andy was made doubly so by the onset of the great depression, which of course it at the exact time carson had first graduated from college. after a couple of years at johns hopkins in earning her master's degree in doing a little bit of teaching, she really needed to find work. she was kind of the sole breadwinner in her family. her father had mixed success in life and her mother lived with
carson for most of her life. a number of relatives always living in and out of the household and carson was always the one who had a child. in the mid-1930s she went to work for the peer of fisheries as an information specialist, writing press releases and/// pamphlet and radio scripts ando doing other kinds of work like that for the bureau of fisheries. in 1940, the bureau of fisheries was merged with the biological survey, another federal agency as part of president roosevelt's reorganization plan for the federal government. those two agencies became the official wildlife who are hosted tonight. she spent the balance of her career working for fish and wildlife began mainly as an information specialist. she did have some scientific titles along the way. she was not quite ideologists was her job description and she did do some scientific work for the agency.
most of what she did this in the area of communications. she eventually became editor in chief of the fish and wildlife service, which she oversaw publications, review thoughts of technical papers produced by the scientific staff and was really sort of in charge of the outward voice of the agency to the public. in the mid-1940s, carson had an idea for an ambitious series of booklets, pamphlets that are pretty substantial conservation inaction. there's seven or eight of these and all and each of them deals with one of the newly established federal wildlife refugees, which needed to be explained to the public. the fish and wildlife service wanted everyone to understand why they were taking the slanted setting it aside as refugees and in some places this is
controversial. sportsmen were not used to have the government step in and scoop up land they were used to hunting and fishing on. so part of the mission was to explain the rationale for these refugees. one of these booklets was devoted not to a specific refuge, but to the subject of conservation generally. the booklet conservation inaction number five was published in 1948. it's really a landmark of conservation literature and all of these booklets demonstrated one of the things that is characteristic about carson's work for the government, which was and was often too good for the government. several occasions to his advice to take thing she had written and do something else with them because their supervisors thought the government really didn't deserve the kind of a poster of these booklets. although in fact these were sent out to universities and
extension services. you could buy one from the u.s. printing office, but if she went to a wildlife refuge and stopped at the information kiosk, you could also pick one up and read about the refuge you are visiting. i will read from one of the season the defense will carson was doing. again, this is a pamphlet he would get for free if you went to the national wildlife refuge. assateague is one of the barrier islands typical of the middle class to coast. never more than three miles from shore to shore, buying between she could take a embassy. seen from the air is the migrating waterfall coming from the north must've seen it come its eastern border is a white ribbon of santa cruz around in his long arc of the sub the island to form and include server. back from the beach to stand up and salute is in the house of sand or little by little bound
unrestrained at the beach grasses and the low succulents and loving teen plants. as the vegetation increases come at the dunes fall away into salt marshes bordering the bay. like islands standing out of the low marsh areas are patches of firmer, higher ground for a certain kind of uncarpeted tickets of myrtle, bayberry, >> , rose impact crater. scattered to the marshes and ponds and puddles filled with grass and bordered with bulrushes another good food production and use. this is waterfall country. this is a country that's doing the old days before the white and civilization disturbed the land. this is the kind of country rapidly disappearing except where it is preserving wildlife sanctuaries. well, i can assure you most pamphlets churned out by unique agents via federal government rarely read quite that well. she was really quite remarkable.
the one i referenced before, conservation inaction number five, which was about the whole theme of american conservation. a fascinating document. it is basically a description of a series of tragedies and the natural world in which resource by resource we overestimated the about of the permanence of was there. things that seem too numerous to ever disappear for in fact disappearing because the overhunting, over harvested a reminder site and destroyed habitat and we changed ecosystems in a way that inexhaustible resources prove to beat them lately exhaustible. this is published in 1948. the same year another american naturalist named oligo leopold turned a bookie then writing for several years called great possessions to be published. he was very excited about this.
before could be published, he was at a shack in baraboo, and where he did a lot of his writing and a brush fire broke out next-door and he went to his neighbor to help fight it and he died of a heart attack in the fire. so he never saw his book. but his heirs negotiated with the public, which is eager to published book after leopold staff. they only had one request. they wanted to change the title. they didn't like repossessions, so leopold said what you want to change it to? insipidly to call it a sand county almanac, which is one of the pillars of american conservation is on. it's the book in which leopold proposed what he called the fantastic but which is simple terms argues that it's our responsibility not to look at things in the environment of economic value to us, that ecosystems are interrelated and all the species that exist in that are dependent upon one
another and our real obligation is not economic, but moral and what we have to do is our responsibility to the natural world is to preserve the stability and diversity of ecosystems. when we do things contrary to this interest we have to be very careful. we can't change the natural environment are ready to be aware for perjury and the consequences of the actions we take. carson moved on. she did read a newspaper and magazine articles all the while she worked for the federal government and she actually publish one book in 1941 that it disappeared really without a trace. it got some good reviews, but nobody bought it. she tried again in 18 he won an published a book called sea around us, which her agent sent out chapter by dirk to magazine editors hoping someone would publish an excerpt.
to assign the scene by an editor at "the new yorker" magazine and "the new yorker" was interested in the us if they could see some more of the book. soccer sensation began sending chapters over to "the new yorker" in the summer of 1950. carson eventually got frustrated because she was impatient, she was broke a machine of the money. she told her agent she wished she could force "the new yorker" to decide which chapter they wanted publish it because she thought maybe she'd get a thousand dollars if they did about be a good thing. towards the end of the summer they covered persons and her agent at "the new yorker" was not going to publish. they were going to publish 10 chapters. the effect of that was enormous. before the sea around us was published as a book, it was destined to become a bestseller, which it did. it turned carson immediately into a household name msa said earlier, one of the most famous writers in america.
the sea around us was number one on "the new york times" bestseller list for 39 straight weeks. it was on the bestsellers list for several years into is the end of the time it is in the top 10, her publisher decided to reissue the earlier book from 1841, a book called under the sea wind, the one that disappeared without a trace went to the bestseller list. in early 1952, rachel carson had two of the top 10 books in america at the same time on the bestseller list. see around us also won the national book award, which in its infancy at the time, was the second or third time it had been awarded. this is a picture of her at the awards banquet with the other winners that year it on the far left as a poet, mary ann moore who won for poetry in the middle is james jones, who won from here to eternity. i wrote in the book -- in my
book that shows did not particularly happy back pain. it looks relatively content, but it must've been a difficult night because everybody knew he was a compromise winner. it was anybody's first choice. two other novels that cancel each other out. one was mccain mutiny and the other boat that naturalized was this odd comic novel about a teenager called the catcher in the rye. so when does to knock heads, jones was the default winner. at any rate, and love this picture because it's hard to imagine a more unlikely gathering. mary ann moore, the scare your comment is high-profile poet, who always for the stray corner cat. the younger novelists and rachel carson, zoologists turned nature writer. while this is obvious to an early highpoint because she
finally achieved her goal of becoming a writer. it's natural to think that she moved from here to more than a decade later writing about pesticide in silent spring. but in fact, she was already concerned about pesticides at this point because six years before that photographing before the sea around us, she has started to look at research being done at the fish and wildlife service on this compound called diet coke training athlete, ddt. nobody knew what to do with it. it didn't seem to have any practical purpose until a swiss chemist in 1839, paul muller discovered it was a potent insecticide. intended to last a long time and services that was sprayed on. it seemed to be deadly to have a kind of insight analysis in to be harmless to other species that were not the targets of the poison. it was thought to be effective
and safe way from the outside. that certainly seemed to be the case. paul muller i should add won a nobel prize for discovering ddt. during the second world war, production of ddt was ramped up in this country and elsewhere and was used extensively throughout the word universe of operation to combat disease and delousing operations for refugees and people coming out of contaminated areas and it really, really seemed to work. in may 243 the u.s. army sprayed ddt on a million civilians in italy and halted a typhus outbreak threatened the city. well, through the 1940s and 1850s and early 1960s, ddt kind of goes everywhere. and as it does, other insect sites chemically similar are developed, so there is a hole every of pesticides coming
common use initially in military settings, but then after the war and forestry, agriculture, residential, things used in hospitals, commercial buildings and homes and lots and lots of different products. one of the problems for spraying poison from airplanes as it's really hard to control where it goes and yet this was done extensively. these are all classic. i grew up in florida where there was encephalitis as an epidemic that corrupted because the mosquitoes transmit brain disease. tracks like this have come from a neighborhood of limited my brothers and i would get his teeth into that mark as they possibly could because it was really fun. again, it was everywhere, thought to be harmless to people. although, i should say that carson's entries in ddt was based on evidence that it is not
entirely safe. again, the fish and wildlife service had started testing ddt at the research facility in maryland in 1945. from the very beginning, it was clear the air was toxic to other species of wildlife and to distribute and six. reception is toxic to every single species that was tested on. descended on large outdoor settings is a very complicated situation, hard to evaluate what its effects were. animals and birds would disperse. airplanes would drop a lot of ddt here in this area over here. it is difficult to evaluate exactly what its effects were, but it is being used everywhere in person understood the data coming out of the fish and wildlife work, which in 1948 had a biologist whose job description was ddt problems and he worked for the fish and wildlife service. so the first six pounds of ddt
came into the united states in 1943. it was tested. we started making it by 1959 we were playing 80 million pounds of ddt a year. as i said before, it was incorporated into lots of different products, used extensively in forestry and agriculture, but also in products you could buy in the grocery store right next to your food. shelf paper for landing your kitchen shelves would be in ddt. i'm obvious to minor kitchen shelves of the effect site placed paper. people whisper their beds with ddt. you could buy what was called a bomb, and aerosol bombs that she put in a room, pulled a pen and would fumigate the room and treated in as little as six seconds with the advertising claim. one of my favorite was a device
that my dad owned. it was a canister of ddt they screwed onto the muffler of islam are and those who lawn, the hot exhaust gas would spray out a cloud of insect inside. so if you are having company later that day, you could place in the area first before they got there. last night [laughter] to challenge for person as she thought about how to read about pesticide with the idea that chemicals could contaminate what she called the total environment, the global ecosystem in a widespread wave is a very novel idea. people were really not concerned about it. they didn't understand the possibility as we do today. but carson was aware that there was a similar technology that had developed on a parallel track, one that also got started in 1839, was developed during the war and came into wide use
of that is the right word after the war. she got this other technology offered a parallel example that the public could understand and this was one of the important premises of "silent spring" was trying between pesticides and associate elegy, which was this one. now that is an animation. that is not a real explosion.
to see it from that distance can ever take eight or nine minutes for the soundwave to get to you if you are far enough to see an explosion like that. but it illustrates what i'm talking about. this is not animation. this is the explosion that occurred on march 1st 1954 at bikini atoll and the marshall islands in the south pacific. this was the first hydrogen bomb. dirt than one device a few months before this period was a practical bomb. it is as big as a building and can be with the nice. but this is something that could be put on an airplane and trapped somewhere. this is called the castle b-bravo test. several things wrong with this test. this is about 4:00 in the morning, by the way. this would've the the entire sky in the south pacific. the first thing that went wrong as the wind changed. the windows side of the north
that they and the thought was that any radioactive fallout would be harmlessly towards inner tikka portraits and populated parts of the forest of the pacific. the wind shifted just before they detonated the device and came out of the last in blue amount of fallout out to the east of bikini atoll. the second thing that went wrong as there been a serious miscalculation. this is new technology and their lithium isotopes in the feel for this bomb ever thought to be essentially an urchin explosion or to have a very low affinity for some of the neutrons that would be flying around in the milliseconds that the explosion. i don't even understand the chemistry of the lithium lithium like the neutrons lit a lot better than they thought it would end the result was this explosion went off at about 250% of the anticipated field. in other words, two and half
times more powerful and added that he expected it to be. of course it was by far already the most powerful explosions that had never occurred anywhere on the face of the earth. the guys who push the trigger new something was wrong right away. they were in a bunker on the other side of the lagoon about two miles away from the device. a couple seconds after they touch the trigger and the fireball and off, but before they could hear anything, the bunker started to move backward in the realist was happening as they were feeling the ground shock, which travels faster than the speed of sound. no one had ever felt that before because normally the earth absorbs the ground shock. but this explosion was so big that it actually rocked the bunker 30 miles away and alarmed everybody right away. the third thing that went wrong with this test was that it sent
thousands of tons of highly irradiated coral and pulled racy and up into the stratosphere, where a body they started blowing along in the jet stream, but a fair amount fell back to the ocean downwind of the test. this japanese fishing boat called the lucky dragon on this very unlucky day was fishing about 90 miles away east of the test. the shift ended at calming down like snow, this gray ash that fell out of her expose service and got into every part of the ship. these guys saw the explosion and didn't know it happened. they didn't understand what was coming down. so a number of them scooped up samples sent to save could put it under pillows. some tasted it to see if the results because it sort of looks like salt.
at the time the lucky dragon got back to japan, everybody had radiation poisoning. the man had turned black, their eyes were in the same. they were frightening to look at. the ship was immediately turned off to the other side of the harbor and kept away from everybody and ultimately burn that cd. the crew spent a year in the hospital in tokyo where they had experiments were the two bombs that they chopped on japan in 1945 and eventually they all recovered except for the radium in the dining to be on a pc and well because the data flow for failure. this is a huge international incidents in the united states had to pay reparations to the families. thune turned up with radio active burdens for weeks and
years afterwards. so this was a serious, serious problem. one that carson was determined to explore and senate springs. he really thought what was happening with pesticides is similar to what was happening but fallout. i should explain for those of you don't remember, we suppose these things up all the time. in total for about 500 aboveground atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons between 1845 and 1963 with just about everybody stop doing it. most of those are by the united states and the soviet union. the united states tested about 200 at tonic and hydrogen bombs in the atmosphere during that period. in june of 1962, when carson spoke was being serialized in "the new yorker," the united states tested 10 nuclear. one every three days while
"silent spring" was being serialized in "the new yorker." i want to read a little bit for my book. and there's a little bit of carson here. i'll try to identify that for you. this is a little bit about how that connection was made in the book. three long excerpts from "silent spring" rendon weekly issues of "the new yorker" beginning on june 16, 1962. abu abridged, person story began in a magazine almost word for word as it was in the book with the short for betting fable that would become one of the great set pieces in american literature. in it, carson imagined a nameless town in the heart of america, will always seem to live in harmony with the surrounding. the safety of the base in every direction by mashburn fields and cold clear writing trust seems is home to an abundance of wildlife. foxes and deer and especially birds.
the aviary so rich during the migrations of spring and fall the people traveled great distances just to see it. so it had been, person will come since the days many aeschylus of their space houses, saying farewells and built their barns. but then a strange plight invaded the area. the second evil spell that brought with it unexplainable sickness and death to livestock. chickens laid eggs that did not hatch. catalan sheep turned up dead. escape her 22 sons of letters that lived only days. the fish in the riverside in the trout anglers stayed away. people to fell ill. some died, leaving families grieving and doctors perplexed. the roadsides firmly flush with bushes and wildflowers for now brown and the third as the swept by fire. here and there in mysterious white powder clung to the rooftops and lay in the gutters of the houses in the town, deadly traces of something that
followed? know from the skies on the weeks before and everywhere was an ominous quiet, a silence the close of the town is surrounded to the living world is the area had become in tune. it was a strange stillness. the birds, for example, where they can't? many people spoke of them, puzzled and disturbed. the feeding stations and factories were deserted. a few birds seen anywhere were moribund. they trembled violently and could not fly. it was a spring without voices. on the morning that once job with the dawn chorus of robbins, does come the jays, friends, scores of other purposes is now no sound, only silence lay over the fields and woods in the marsh. in the space of just 10 paragraphs come at "the new yorker" combined them into three, carson had written a story at the end of the world. book reader in 1962 could fail to see in this description of
the blake possibilities of the modern age. persons subject to this pesticides, but she began in a way that just as surely as if the images devastation and all its ensuing sickness right down to the residue of wisdom in the sky. this was a familiar tableau as the cold war had offered a running theme of the annihilation of the picture many americans already had of the colorless, lifeless void that recited behind the iron curtain. for a oppressive society was understood to be functionally debt but at the same time a deadly threat. in september of 1861 the soviet union had received atmospheric testing in early december detonated 31 nuclear devices including one more than 3300 times the size of the little boy, the bomb that destroyed hiroshima. this gargantuan device produced the largest nuclear explosion in history.
the united states embarked on a program to restart its own testing in south as if they can did so in 1962. justice carson was finishing "silent spring." testing continues at various peace into summer and then fall in the month of june alone his readers for their needs of the promise of pesticides from rachel carson and the "the new yorker" from the united states exploded 10 nuclear devices in the atmosphere. that you're a nuclear device exploded somewhere in the world every few days. so this is the context for "silent spring." this was the parallel that carson drew that would allow the public for the first time to see that the idea of a contaminant, invisible, ubiquitous, not well understood could enter into the environment on a wide basis and contaminate the total ecosystem.
in early 1963, the cbs television network today program about "silent spring." they interviewed rachel carson and her critics who allegiance. he was embroiled in a huge controversy surrounding "silent spring," which had been attacked viciously by the chemical industry, which they were protecting their interests of course, but there was also an argument offered that carson had proposed in "silent spring" was in some way fundamentally un-american. because what she was asking the country to do was to take a look at an economically important class of products, determine whether they presented a danger to the public. and if so, to extend the reach of government into the private sector to regulate them and do something about it. of course that is not an unfamiliar argument. if you listen to the debate later tonight you can hear the same thing still going unto this day.
when president kennedy was going to do something about pesticides, he actually meant it. he appointed a presidential commission a day after the press conference and i showed you in the beginning of the commission reported back in the spring of 1963, essentially saying that everything carson had claimed in "silent spring" appear to be true, the pesticides were persisted in the environment, that they were stored in the tissues of living things and therefore became amplified through bioaccumulation from repeated exposures and also from moving up the food chain as one animal ate another one that heavy body burden of ddt in it, these things became magnified. this all became true. the commission didn't have any practical policies to propose immediately to these much about pesticides, but it did set the conversation in motion. again, we pointed this timeframe
a year or so, in 1862 into 1963 is a real turning point to her discussion is environment in relationship to it. what showed up at a excerpt from cbs documentary so you can see and hear rachel carson herself. go see her at the beginning of this clip at her cottage in maine after she became a well-to-do author and left government service, she built a house near boothbay harbor, maine and southport island overlooking the ocean. she loved this location, the marine life that was in the typos that the foot of the cliff she was on and this is her summer destination ever after. it is still there and i lived in it for a week when i was working on this book and actually wrote parts of one of the chapter in my book at rachel carson's desk, which is fair, just as it was the day she left.
her family still is the cottage and fortunately they haven't tried to tragic accident. they maintain it, but they have it renovated it, so it looks just the way it did when she was there. take a look at rachel carson. [inaudible] up to now, 500,000 copies have been sold. "silent spring" has been called the most controversial book of the year. biologist rachel carson worked for years in preparation of "silent spring." what she wrote started a national quarrel. >> chemicals are recognized partners of radiation changing the very nature of the world, the very nature of his life. since mid-1940s, over 200 chemicals have been created for the use of human and tax, reads another organism described in the modern vernacular and sold
under several thousand different brand names. these sprays, and dust are almost universal. gardens, forests, homes. they have the power to deliver insight -- [inaudible] and to linger on the soil. all of this -- [inaudible] can anyone believe it is possible to lay down without making it unfit for a life in the nation not to be called insecticide. >> i remember scenes like that. to some of your member seen fogging tracks through the neighborhoods quiet it was certainly a different time.
well, rachel carson did not live to see the environmental movement blossomed and flow out of what she started. she was halfway through "silent spring" when she discovered she had breast cancer ended with an advanced stage and was not diagnosed well. her treatment was inadequate to halt the disease and so she continued to fight her illness during the second two years. it took about for years to write the book and she was sick about half the time of her cancer and a variety of other illnesses. but she was a strong person and i think a brave person. certainly stood out to the people who attacked "silent spring" reissue is more capable than defending herself and it's a very ably. she was also wasting quite raised in confronting her illness and the fact she would not live to see really the first of your labor. she died in april 1964 at the
age of 56 and it took about six years% gain really concrete to happen as a response to "silent spring." many things that happen in the ensuing years, but the watershed event was then president nixon signed into law, created the environmental protection agency. one of the first orders of business that the epa was to be in a series insecticide starting with ddt and including all of its other cousins come in many of which were toxic as ddt. that domestic income of the ban on the use of those in this country went into effect in 1972, where they began phasing them out. it is to bet that person didn't live to see that, but she didn't get i like to think of her in this photograph taken by her friends come in the freeman family who live next door to her in maine on the shoreline of southport island in maine about
may 255 probably. it's one of my favorite photographs of her. she looks very content and very much someone at home in an environment and at home in the world and at home and her role as an author, a scientist and ultimately somebody who would change the way we think about things. i think that is a good place to stop and take any questions you have. >> anybody have any questions? [inaudible] >> the question is why was the book called "silent spring"? that probably stems from the opening chapter in which she describes a spring in which birds are absent from the town. carson and her editor and your agent agonized over what to call the book. as is often the case they have
different titles that they tried out over the course of a couple years while she was finishing the book. they finally had on the idea of naming that first chap your, "silent spring" and her agent suggested that would be a good title for the whole book. so that's how it got its name. >> my question was similar. how did you choose your title? >> well, again, i also went to several different ideas for titles for this book. it's very, very difficult sometimes to figure out exactly what to call it the. the first two books i wrote it was really lucky. those titles came to me with almost no thought at all and just seemed to fit perfectly nobody ever checked into them. but this book there were a few different ideas they tried out on the editor and other people as working upon it and it took a long time to find this one. but it comes from a poem by t.s. eliot, which is quoted in the
beginning of the book and it is a poem that also includes a line about the sea around us, that carson was particularly fond of. so in his palm, elliott describes it as kind of a journey between one sure into another and talks about the importance of stopping to contemplate what happened in between and just seemed to me that was a nice -- i kind of like the sound of it. for a while he had to convince people, but ultimately they gave me in. >> if you have a question coming will get through a microphone so everyone can hear. [inaudible] >> well, that's actually true. being serialized in "the new yorker" really transformed carson fights and turned the
around us into the big success that it was. the editor who initially that the manuscript when it just came in through the front door was a young editorial assistant named edith oliver, who went on to become the drama critic of "the new yorker" for several decades. a very famous american critic, but at the time somebody whose job it was to restart that arrived unsolicited. she liked it enough that she sent it to the magazine editor in chief, william shawn. shawn ultimately added it all through carson's books that were serialized in "the new yorker." so that included the sea around us in 1851, then her third and final book about the feet, which is called the edge of the sea, which was in the magazine in 1955.e/ a 10 carson started work ona/ao sandy spring, it is clear whatever she did was going to be in "the new yorker" first. so that i worked out in close
consultation with william shawn at the magazine when she started working on that book. she initially didn't want to write "silent spring." even though she was concerned about pesticides that something should be done, she thought someone else should do it. one of the things that inspired the book was a lawsuit filed in 1958 group of landowners on long island in new york who sued the state of new york to try to get them to stop spraying ddt over the property. carson got "the new yorker" should write about this trial, this lawsuit msi let journalists into her and not up her alley, so she tried to convince vb way to cover this trial for "the new yorker." way to the domain is carson did and was concerned about pesticides drawback is that i don't attempt to do it, but you should do it. the project kind of took off from there.
>> you mentioned the first use of ddt. >> where we -- sorry? >> to first use of ddt in the u.s. where was it manufactured originally? >> well, it was sent to size and manufactured in buffalo, switzerland and then samples were distributed to many countries, among the allies during the war. i don't know who manufactured during the war, but probably was one of the major chemical companies. after the war that the nature chemical companies of ddt on sancho, also called, a long list of prominent american chemical companies.
>> my question is about rachel carson support group. people like her seemed to come out from almost nowhere. of course she studied and have these interests. i'm curious as to how people like her suddenly appeared. i wonder who was helping her to support her. >> wouldn't it be great if we understood their rachel carson came from quite >> they are out there. although she was an overnight success in "the new yorker" discovered her, she had been writing professionally on and off for 14 or more years at a time to see around us was published in "the new yorker," including that initial book i
mentioned that she published it didn't go anywhere at all. she got her start again by submitting something to her supervisor at the fish and wildlife service is determined to be too good for government work. her boss had asked her to write something of a general nature about the ocean. i'm not quite sure what they were going to do with it. probably put it in the indo report to the bureau of fisheries and distributed in some fashion. carson went out for a couple weeks and came back with this long essay about the ocean, that really distilled just about everything that was known about oceanography at the time and this lovely poetic narrative here it she turned again enterprise that i'm not going to publish this. this is ridiculous. this is way too good or if you should sell this to be up and the carson senate tuesday
she was certainly consistent with. >> in the course of a research have you discovered a published manuscript or things she didn't get a chance to finish and might be open for publication send? >> i wish i had. it's funny, there were immediately rumors swirling around that several manuscripts that her publisher had stored away in a warehouse somewhere to bring out in the wake in the success of her book. as far as i know there isn't much published material that she left behind and they would have
been discovered by now if they were because she was one of those rare people who saved everything that she ever wrote and everything that was ever written to her, so in her personal papers which are collected at yale university, is everything, including her high school themes, her college term papers, all of the correspondence between rachel carson and anybody else that she ever wrote letters to. so i don't think, i don't think there's anything undiscovered because we have such of wealth, a complete written record of carson's life. you always hope you are going to find something new but in the course of research like this, my approach is to look at other things being incorporated into the story to bring and other aspects of history in the time carson worked in, so but to answer your question, regrettably no and i would be
very surprised if we found one. [inaudible] >> well, describing in his introduction tonight that my work in the last decade and a half or so has been mostly about nature and environment and science and history of nature and the environment. so carson seemed like kind of a wide subject. i thought about her number of years before he got around to working on this biography. i had two primary motivations in writing the book. one was that i felt that it was an unfortunate thing that carson had sort of fallen out of public awareness and a lot of people didn't know who rachel carson was. i said i'm thinking about writing a book about rachel carson and i would get a blank
look. who is that? that just seemed wrong. i hope that maybe i could correct that. the other thing was that i have been curious for a long time about why, as i indicated before, why we should have this often ugly argument about environmental matters? why should republicans and democrats think differently? why should people on the right side of the political appeal understand the natural world in a way that is different from people on the left just didn't make sense to me so i wanted to know what the origins were of that, what gave shape to the argument we have today and to also see if there were lessons from five decades ago that would inform us a little bit about today. all those things turned out to be true. rachel carson really did help to launch the environment a movement and direction to the silent spring really did condition the thinking in the
public discourse around them are mental matters in a way that persists to this day. if you took silent spring and substituted climate change from pesticides the arguments would play out in essentially the same way. people would end up on the same side, the same interest would be largely in place and we could have the same -- we do have the same kind of thing we were having 50 years ago. i was curious about those things. i did not sit up in the middle of the night and yell rachel carson and spend the next six years doing it, but i was curious about all those things. >> is there a comparison to the nuclear atomic bomb? did she have the opportunity to correspond with the commoner? >> i don't think she talked with barry commoner. i honestly can't remember correspondence with him in her papers and i think i would know
that if she did. obviously a lot of overlap there in terms of their mutual concerns but i don't think that she had any contact with commoner. that is a good question and i guess in retrospect it's a little bit surprising that she didn't, but i don't recall that. yes, sir? >> given her early concerns about the ocean in the books that she wrote, and then 10 years later silent spring, is there any sign that maybe she had a little more time she would have become concerned about pollution in the ocean's? >> i am sure she would have. i am sure -- people asked this all the time, what would rachel say today and i'm i am sure she would be concerned about the depletion of ocean fishing stock and the
contamination of the ocean which is one of those resources that is inexhaustible if you look at it but which doesn't as we know. i believe there is junk from the tsunami that is beginning to wash up on the pacific coast this fall, and so we know we are doing lots of bad things to the ocean right now and i'm quite sure she would be concerned about climate change and probably consider that to be the major environmental issue confronting us today. she would be may be equally worried about this new resistance to science and i'm not sure it is really an. maybe it's always been with us but it seems more barrel and an widespread right now. we have in our public discussion of environmental matters and other issues, we often find people simply deciding not to
accept the facts and insisting that science is some sort of a hoax or some sort have been imprecise discipline. it does not have the answers that it claims to have and his answers are often not preferable to an ideological point of view or political point of view or some other belief that it's inconsistent with scientific information. i think she'd find a tremendously frustrating and wonder if we have made any progress at all. so, it's an interesting thought exercise to wonder what somebody like rachel carson would do and say in this day and age and then the related question and also it always comes up is, whether there could be another silent spring, whether they could be another rachel carson in this day and age. i think it would be very difficult. one, you have to start with a beloved, well not brighter that everybody thinks is great and would never write anything that
would distrust them in the slightest way and then that writer needs to somehow run this new media gauntlet that we have, and there is no such thing as an object that neutral president and no such thing and one you can believe. everyone is in these arms camp medias right now and we have had more than a decade now of a concerted effort to discredit the mainstream media. rachel carson would have been part of the mainstream media and so someone like her to arrive on the scene today would be suspect. another voice spouting scientific things that may or may not be true but a bad idea for the economy. so that sounds a little pessimistic and i'm really not a pessimist at heart but i am -- i consider it unlikely circumstances that exist when rachel carson wrote silent
spring and allowed it to have the influence that it did and i don't dig it will occur any time soon. >> one must question. we have some university students in the audience and didn't get much of a chance to talk about what it was like to pursue science in rachel carson? were there some barriers because of her gender? >> there were barriers. a woman who wanted to get a college education in the 1920s was generally thought to these pursuing that for her own personal betterment, and not for the purpose of having a career. it was to become a better wife, better homemaker, a better mother in the future. that was the object of post-secondary education, primarily. women could go into the teaching profession so carson certainly could have been a teacher and she could have taught biology or writing in the future.
that would have been a career avenue that was open to her. science was also more open to women than other disciplines where. the marine biological laboratory was a place where a lot of dominant women scientists studied and one of carson's predecessors at the mbl was another person that one on two actually become a writer, gertrude stein spent a couple of summers at the mbl which i find interesting. carson's prospects would have been circumscribed by the fact that she was a woman. i was talking earlier with someone about her role at the fish and wildlife service and whether there was something that was gender oriented about the fact the she was really not given scientific -- she was an information specialist and it sounds a little bit more like the administrative clerical side of the operation. i think probably there is some truth to that although she
obviously demonstrated through the course of her years at the fish and wildlife service that she was more than just somebody who typed up stuff and she was clearly highly valued employee of the agency. she did move up. she did advance. she was given promotions throughout her time with the fish and wildlife service, so she was a professional success at the agency. whether that would have happened had she signed on as the aquatic biologist and then tried to do lab work benchwork as one of the agencies is a a little less than certain. times were definitely different. nowhere in the written record does carson ever complain about this. she never ever uttered a single word about feeling that she wasn't given credit for something because she was a woman. and in fact she capitalized on the fact that when books about
the ocean were being published critics and reviewers often remarked about how surprising it was how a woman would know about complicated things like oceanography and that a woman had actually gone out on a ship or put on a helmet and went under the water and looked at fish. this was sometimes overstated. she was much better in the library and better communicate with experts who would advisor on things but she always allow this stand that she was an intrepid voyager when in fact she wasn't. and that kind of like that because she sort of turned the tables on the people who said wow, can you believe the little woman like that? she used that to her advantage i think. >> thank you very much. one more round of applause. thank you. thank you, all. [applause]
be at the end of world war ii we had 2000 flag officers and generals. today we have 1000 flag officers and generals and 1.2 million under officers. the ratio is totally out of whack. we almost now have an admiral for every ship. not a captain, an admiral so what we have done is go through and look at areas where we could not necessarily save all publica transfer responsibilities that are not truly in the dee